Ask your audiologist…

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Got crusty ears?

As we age it is important to check our entire bodies for suspicious spots on our skin. Preferably annually by a dermatologist because they know what to look for and you want to catch these things early. I am talking about skin cancer. The earlier you catch it the best chance there is of getting rid of it or curing it. Don’t let something suspicious just keep growing. Some skin cancer can spread to the organs and become fatal. It is pretty hard to see our own ears and our own backsides.

I want to discuss the crusty spots I see on people’s outer ears. I am not joking when I tell patients to show these spots to their primary care doctors or dermatologists. If a spot on your ear crusts over and doesn’t go away please have it looked at. If your doctor freezes it and it comes back have it looked at again. Sometimes the crusty spot has to be cut out and a biopsy taken to determine if it is skin cancer or not. Have these procedures done it may save your ear. It breaks my heart when someone with a severe to profound hearing loss comes in without the part of the ear I need to hang a powerful enough hearing aid on. I have quite a few patients with part of their ear missing and it is pretty noticeable.

The outer ear is very vulnerable to skin cancer because of sun exposure. Make sure you put sunscreen on your ears if you have short hair or have your hair pulled back. Hats with a brim are especially good because they protect your ears and shade your face too.

True Story: A few weeks ago a gentleman walked into my office with part of his ear missing and I asked him if he had some skin cancer removed and he told me he was in a bar room brawl and the other guy bit it off. This older gentleman was quite a scrapper back in his day. Those loggers from St. Maries and Orofino are tough don’t mess with them you might lose and ear.

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Dr. Tia Flynn is a certified audiologist and has been in business for more than 17 years. Every Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, Dr. Flynn provides free hearing screenings at 1601 Third St. in Coeur d’Alene. (208) 664-2767. Visit our newly updated website www.affordablehearinginc.com for an online hearing test and watch helpful videos.

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